No soft-skinned Durham steers are they,
No Devons plump and red,
But brindled, black and iron-grey
That mark the mountain-bred;
For mountain-bred and mountain-broke,
With sullen eyes agleam,
No stranger’s hand could put a yoke
On old Black Harry’s team.
Pull out, pull out, at break of morn
The creeks are running white,
And Tiger, Spot and Snailey-horn
Must bend their bows by night;
And axles, wheels, and flooring boards
Are swept with flying spray
As shoulder-deep, through mountain fords
The leaders feel their way.
He needs no sign of cross or kirn
To guide him as he goes,
For every twist and every turn
That old black leader knows.
Up mountains steep they heave and strain
Where never wheel has rolled,
And what the toiling leaders gain
The body-bullocks hold.
Where eagle-hawks their eyries make,
On sidlings steep and blind,
He rigs the good old-fashioned brake –
A tree tied on behind.
Up mountains, straining to the full,
Each poler plays his part –
The sullen, stubborn, bullock-pull
That breaks a horse’s heart.
Beyond the farthest bridle track
His wheels have blazed the way;
The forest giants, burnt and black,
Are ear-marked by his dray.
Through belts of scrub, where messmates grow
His juggernaut has rolled,
For stumps and saplings have to go
When Harry’s team takes hold.
On easy grade and rubber tyre
The tourist car goes through,
They halt a moment to admire
The far-flung mountain view.
The tourist folk would be amazed
If they could get to know
They take the track Black Harry blazed
A Hundred Years Ago.